Chest Day is the Best Day! A Killer Chest Workout From TheFitExpo

Whether it be Monday (a.k.a. #InternationalChestDay) or any other day of the week, everyone loves a good chest day. Get ready for the best chest day of your life! We’ll be mixing in some low rep sets with some high rep killers in order to destroy your chest. Not only will this workout get you stronger, it will also give you an absolutely insane chest pump! Let’s jump into the workout below.

Make sure you get in your warm-ups before starting as a heavy bench press can lead to a lot of injuries if you don’t warm-up properly first. A few sets of pass-throughs with a band or a PVC pipe are a great way to warm up your entire shoulder joint. Some rotator cuff work with a light dumbbell or light cables may also help if your rotator cuffs cause you issues. Next, do 2 sets of 20-30 band pull-aparts or cable face pulls to help set your shoulders before benching. Before you jump on the flat bench, go ahead and warm up your triceps with 2 sets of 20-30 light tricep pushdowns using a band or a cable machine. Now you’re ready to bench! I know this seems like a lot of warming up, but the protection that it will provide your shoulders and elbows is more than worth it.

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Bench Press:

Start by doing 50 reps with the bar just to get your pecs firing and your movement pattern feeling good. This should be an easy warm-up. If it’s tough, do fewer reps! Now begin your working sets with a heavy pyramid with the rep scheme 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. As you work up in weight the sets should be difficult, but are they strength-focused so give yourself time to rest between sets! Begin lowering the weight after your set of 2, taking less time to rest and focusing on pushing yourself near failure. NOTE: Always stop 1-2 reps shy of failure if you do not have a spotter! It’s not worth the injury risk.

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What to Expect at TheFitExpo

If you’re about to attend your first fit expo, get excited! It’s a blast! Many people have some common questions before attending their first expo, so we’re here to answer them!

Planning Your Trip

First thing’s first, you have to plan your trip. If you’re from out of town, check out thefitexpo.com for a  discount on local hotels for a limited time. Before you go, be sure to check out our website to make a list of the celebrities and companies that you want to see! Also be sure to check out our schedule of events. This way you won’t miss out on what’s important to you! Again, all of this information can be found at thefitexpo.com . If you’re planning on competing in any of the competitions that are offered such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, Max Reps,etc., check our website to see how to sign up!

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Lift Weight to Lose Weight

Lifting weight to lose weight may sound crazy to you at first, and you’re not alone. To many people, common sense says that cardio is the only way to burn fat while lifting weights makes you bulky. By the end of this article, you’ll come to see that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, cardio does burn calories, but lifting weights may have even more benefits in regards to weight loss!

First, let’s dismiss a common myth. Lifting weights will not make you bulky! You won’t go to bed looking like Spongebob one day and wake up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger the next! If lifting weights really made you instantly gain weight, don’t you think that every guy in your local gym would look a lot bigger and have to work a lot less hard? Gaining muscle is a painfully slow process, and if you ever do feel “too big” it’s a pretty simple fix! Just stop lifting for a while! Stressing about accidentally getting “too big” is like stressing about accidentally winning the Olympics. It only happens with years of dedication and training, not by accident.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into fat loss. Fat loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume, creating a caloric deficit. This deficit can be made greater by decreasing the amount of calories eaten, or by increasing the amount of calories burned. This is where cardio comes into play as it is a simple way to increase the amount of calories burned. Many look to cardio as the best way to burn excess calories due to the fact that a specific time of cardio will likely burn more calories than lifting for that same amount of time would. Logically, this makes sense. In 20 mins of jogging, you’re moving constantly; whereas 20 minutes of lifting is broken up into several sets and rest periods so that actual exercise occurs during a fairly small amount of that 20-minute time span. However, the main benefits of lifting don’t actually occur during exercise!

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The Perfect Split

What is the perfect workout split? This age old debate between lifters has raged on for centuries, with no foreseeable end in sight. Truthfully, there is no “best” training split overall. However, there is absolutely a best training split for you based on your goals, previous experiences, training preferences, and schedule. I’ve broken down the most common workout splits below to help you choose the perfect training split for your goals.

Terms to Know:

  • Frequency: # of training sessions per week
  • Volume: total amount of work (sets and reps) done in each training session
  • Intensity: Amount of physical power exerted
  • Hypertrophy: Muscle Growth

 

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“The Bro Split”

No, I’m not talking about the “curl bro” split of bench, biceps, and nothing else (definitely not legs). I’m talking about a true bodybuilding style bro split, in which one trains four days per week, training different muscle groups each day. Though some argue that hitting each muscle group once per week is too little frequency, this is not necessarily the case. It’s important to remember that any rowing exercise is hitting your biceps along with your back, and bench press will work your triceps and front delts at the same time as your chest. Therefore, while each muscle group will only be isolated once per week, they will be involved many times throughout the week given proper exercise selection. For example, deadlifting on back day allows you to work your legs twice during the week while keeping the focus of that day on your back. This increased frequency will hinder recovery slightly, but with only one day of intense work per muscle group per week, recovery should not be a significant issue. The Bro Split has two main options:

  • Bro Split A:
    • Chest/Triceps
    • Back/Biceps
    • Legs
    • Shoulders
  • Bro Split B:
    • Chest/Biceps
    • Back/Triceps
    • Legs
    • Shoulders

In order to decide between these, it is important to note your weak points. If you are looking to work on your back more than your biceps, I’d recommend bro split as it allows you to train your back to exhaustion, before your biceps have been isolated that week. However, if you are trying to catch your biceps up to your back, isolating them when they are at full strength may be the most beneficial. The order of the days can be mixed up as well. If you’re struggling with your squats, you should probably hit them before you deadlift, moving leg day before back day. Your schedule can also come into play as some will train a bro split Monday-Thursday, while others will split their 4 days throughout the week. The bro split is a great choice for those chasing gains, that allows for adequate rest and personalization.

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What’s the Best Rest Time for You?

One of the most commonly debated questions between gym-goers is “what is the best amount of time to rest between sets?” You’ll often hear powerlifters saying that it takes 2-5 minutes to fully recover from a set, while bodybuilders will argue that anything over 1-2 minutes is just wasting time. Endurance athletes and those chasing extreme fat loss goals may argue for as little as 15-30 seconds of rest! With all of these conflicting ideas, it can be extremely difficult to decipher between fact and fiction. This article is here to help you sort through the broscience and figure out the best rest time for you!

So who’s right? Truthfully, all of them are right! There is no real optimal rest time for overall fitness. However, there is definitely an optimal rest time for each person depending on their current goals. Check below for more information on the optimal rest time to help you reach your goals!

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TheFitExpo’s Hardcore Leg Day Routine

If you’re one of the people who skips leg day most weeks, this workout isn’t for you. This workout is for the people who kill their leg days week in and week out, and are looking for a new challenge. This program is designed to not only challenge your muscles, but to challenge your heart, your willpower, and your mental fortitude. It is not an easy workout by any means, but the results are definitely worth it. We’ll be relying on a mix of high and low rep ranges, varying rest times, and multiple different exercises to train your legs from all angles. The reasoning behind each exercise selection is broken down below, with the complete workout routine at the end of the article.

Warm-up: Begin by foam rolling any spots that feel tight, then warm up with a few minutes on the exercise bike to get some blood pumping through your legs. 1-2 minutes of bodyweight walking lunges followed by 2-3 sets of bodyweight back extensions are very helpful to prepare for leg day. If wish to perform other additional warm-up exercises that you have found helpful in the past, do them here. Whatever you do, don’t jump straight into this workout without a warm-up. Especially on leg day, skipping your warm-up is a recipe for disaster.

Exercise #1: Front Squats

Front squats are a very effective, yet very underutilized exercise. Regular back squats may be substituted if you are uncomfortable performing front squats, but remember that the point of this workout is to get outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Give yourself a few warm-up sets before you reach your working weight, eventually working up to a weight that you can do for 4 sets of 6-8 reps. While this lower rep range won’t jack up your heart rate the way that higher rep ranges do, higher intensity resistance training leads to greater boost in EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), resulting in more calories burned throughout the day. (1) We’ll be performing these front squats before deadlifts because while it is difficult to deadlift with tired quads, it is much harder to try and squat with an already exhausted lower back.

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Top 5 Pre-Workout Ingredients

There’s a lot more to a good pre-workout supplement than just a caffeine boost! Pre-workouts can help to boost muscle protein synthesis (mps), endurance, strength, pump, energy, even help to limit muscle soreness. Listed below in no particular order, are 5 of the top pre-workout ingredients on the market. If you’re looking to take your results to the next level, read on to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your pre-workout.

  1. Beta-alanine

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Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is taken up by muscle fibers where it will combine with histidine to create carnosine. Carnosine helps to buffer metabolic waste such as lactic acid, resulting in increased endurance, strength, power, and recovery. (1) The wide variety of proven benefits offered by beta-alanine make it a top pre-workout ingredient for anyone looking to boost their performance in the gym. Optimal dosage ranges from 2-5 g. (2) Some people prefer to split up these doses due to the tingling sensation (called paresthesia) that is often caused by taking large doses of beta-alanine. Don’t worry though, this is a harmless side effect that some people actually enjoy.

  1. Citrulline Malate

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Citrulline Malate (or L-Citrulline Malate) is simply the amino acid citrulline bonded to malic acid. Citrulline is one of the premiere pump-inducing ingredients on the market. A majority of arginine consumed is broken down by the liver long before it can cause an increase in NO levels (and give you a pump). Citrulline, however, bypasses the liver and is then converted to arginine within the body, and eventually to NO. In fact, citrulline has been shown to boost blood arginine levels more than citrulline itself! (3) Though L-Citrulline can provide great pumps on its own, combining citrulline with malate also provides the ATP boosting benefits of malate which helps to generate more ATP through the Krebs cycle to give you more energy. (4) Optimal dosage for L-citrulline itself is about 1-3 grams, while doses of citrulline malate should be about 6 grams in order to provide you with a full dose of L-citrulline (5). Also, look for citrulline-malate in a 2:1 ratio, meaning that there are 2 molecules of citrulline bonded to each molecule of malate, for optimal dosing.

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Going Slower for More Gains? The Benefits of Time Under Tension Training

I get it. It’s fun to go to the gym and bang out some quick reps. I never used to listen to people saying that it was better to go slow. Why would I go slow when I can do more reps if I go fast? Well, science has made it clear that more is not always better. The importance of quality reps over the quantity of the reps cannot be overstated. A 2011 study by Burd et al. showed that time under tension (TUT)  training led to increased muscle protein synthesis (MPS). (1) The study used 2 groups. One group performed leg extensions with a slow lifting movement (6 seconds up and 6 seconds down) while the other performed them with a fast lifting movement (1 second up and 1 second down). This means that training with a slow tempo causes increased MPS, leading to more gains in muscle!

How does TUT work?

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The Benefits of Cheating

Cheating can be beneficial. I’m not talking about cheating on your significant other or cheating on a test. I’m not even talking about cheating on your diet (though we’ll discuss that in future articles). I’m talking about cheating on exercises in the gym. Though I have often been accused of being a “form Nazi,” even I see the benefits of strategically cheating and so should you!

I would first like to point out that I said strategically cheating! I’m not advocating half repping four plates on bench or ripping out a set of dumbbell curls that uses your lower back more than your arms. What I am advocating for is using a slight bit of momentum to assist you in the concentric portion of a movement (raising the weight), so that you can get more overload on the eccentric portion (lowering the weight). Let me explain:

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5 Training Tips for the Biggest Traps in the Gym

  1. Volume:

Far too often, people hinder the growth of their traps by not hitting them with enough volume! You wouldn’t hit a “chest day” by doing three sets of bench and leaving, would you? However, far too often people do just a few sets of shrugs once a week and that’s it! You don’t need to have a “traps day” as your trapezius muscle is involved in several back and shoulder movements, but you’re lying to yourself if you think that doing three sets of ten is going to get the job done.

2. Weight:

        It seems that there are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to trap training: heavy weight or high reps. This has progressed to the point where guys are either doing 5 reps with the worst form possible, or 100 reps with a weight that isn’t even challenging. Like any muscle group, the key to developing your traps is progressive overload. If the weight is so heavy that you’re having to recruit other muscle groups, less overload is placed on your actual traps. Similarly, if the weight is too light to cause any overload, you will not see any progress. Keep good form and use a weight that is challenging. In order to see the best results, vary between high and low rep exercises in order to keep your traps from adapting and shock them into growth.

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